China censors may have caused huge Internet outage

Jan 22, 2014
Two Chinese men use their laptop computers at a cafe in Beijing on November 2, 2012

China's Internet suffered a massive breakdown as traffic was routed to an overseas site linked to the banned religious group Falun Gong—a fiasco a cyber-monitoring group Wednesday blamed on the country's own censors.

Web users in the country—which tightly restricts Internet access—had trouble accessing numerous sites for about an hour on Tuesday afternoon, said Greatfire.org, which tracks the vast Chinese online censorship apparatus known as the Great Firewall.

"We have conclusive evidence that this outage was caused by the Great Firewall," it said on its website, calling the incident "one of the largest Internet outages ever in China".

Internet users were sent to an IP address owned by US-based Dynamic Internet Technology, which runs a tool called FreeGate designed to bypass Chinese internet censors.

The IP address—65.49.2.178— is linked to dongtaiwang.com, a news portal run by Falun Gong members, Greatfire.org said.

The state news agency Xinhua raised the possibility of hacking, and the official China Internet Network Information Centre attributed the breakdown to a "root server for top-level domain names".

But Greatfire.org cast doubt on those claims, citing technical tests and saying such an act was "not enough to cause this outage".

Falun Gong is a Buddhist-inspired religious group that was banned in China in 1999 and branded an "evil cult".

Dynamic Internet Technology lists as clients on its website the Epoch Times—a publication linked to the spiritual movement—along with Human Rights in China and other groups.

China's vast censorship apparatus proactively suppresses any information or websites online deemed sensitive, from popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter to a frequently updated list of search terms.

Explore further: Dating app Tinder premium plan aims at under-30 crowd (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China web users surge to 618 million

Jan 16, 2014

The number of web users in China has surged to 618 million, a government agency said Thursday, underscoring the rapid growth of online connectivity in the country with the world's largest Internet population.

China trying new form of 'Internet censorship'

Jun 01, 2013

China is experimenting with more subtle methods to censor Internet search results ahead of the 24th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, according to a group that monitors blocked websites in the ...

Great Firewall 'upgrade' hits China Internet users

Dec 21, 2012

Chinese authorities who have long sought to limit access to information have reinforced the so-called Great Firewall of China, Internet firms say, frustrating businesses and raising activist concerns.

Recommended for you

Twitter working with probe on online threats

21 hours ago

Twitter said Monday it was working with law enforcement officials on unspecified threats, amid reports that the social network had been targeted for blocking accounts linked to the Islamic State.

IOC defends Rio legacy amid green protests

Mar 01, 2015

Ecological protests on Saturday dogged the final day of an International Olympic Committee executive board meeting in Rio as green campaigners slated the choice of a nature reserve to hold the golf event ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.